our history

For over 100 years, Rainey Institute has invested in our community’s people. Founded in 1904, Rainey Institute originally served as a settlement house, providing social service programs to Eastern European immigrants. In 1966, Rainey recognized the needs of the neighborhood had changed significantly. Later that year, the organization directed its focus to arts education to better serve the families of Hough and surrounding neighborhoods.

In January of 2011, Rainey Institute moved into its new home. The state-of-the-art, 25,000 square foot facility welcomed more children into Rainey’s programs and provided a dedicated performance area within the Debra Ann November Theater.

Today, Rainey is dedicated to instilling positive change in Greater Cleveland’s youth and families through education and participation in the performing and visual arts. Up from serving just a handful of immigrant families, the institute now reaches over 2,500 students, mostly from Cleveland schools, both onsite and in our outreach programs.

E
1900

Miss Anna Edwards starts boys’ and girls’ clubs in and around the neighborhood to provide recreational and educational activities to restless youth. The programming becomes a great success and Eleanor B. Rainey takes notice.

E
1904

Philanthropist Eleanor B. Rainey arranges for the construction of a settlement house at East 55th and Superior to expand on the work of Miss Edwards.

E
1905

Eleanor B. Rainey passes away, but social services continue at the newly built settlement house.

E
1923

Anna Edwards, first-ever Executive Director of Rainey Institute, passes away. Flora Edwards, Anna’s sister, becomes Executive Director.

E
1943

Upon her death, Grace Rainey Rogers, daughter of Eleanor B. Rainey, creates a bequest in her will that includes the title of the building and a trust fund of $200,000 to be administered by a group of Trustees.

E
1949

Flora Edwards, second director of Rainey Institute, passes away. Mrs. Jessie L. Peloubet, longtime volunteer and worker of Rainey Institute, becomes Executive Director.

E
1957

Rainey Institute receives its IRS 501c3 tax exempt status.

E
1960

Miss Shirley Lautenschlager becomes Executive Director of Rainey Institute.

E
1965

The Long Range Planning Committee of the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association becomes concerned that Rainey Institute is duplicating services of the nearby Goodrich-Gannett and League Park Centers. Rainey Institute’s Board of Trustees requests that the organization enters into a partnership with the Cleveland Music School Settlement to conduct music programs within Rainey Institute’s facility.

E
1966

Zandra Richardson becomes Executive Director of Rainey Institute.

E
1997

Rainey Institute discontinues its affiliation with the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

E
2007

Zandra Richardson retires and Lee Lazar becomes Executive Director.

E
2011

Rainey Institute moves into its newly constructed 25,000 square foot facility located at East 55th and Payne

E
2019

Lee Lazar retires and Dr. Jennifer Harris becomes Executive Director. Rainey Institute now serves 2,500 youth per year through after school, group class, private lesson, preschool arts education, dance mastery, outreach, and summer day camp programs.

E
1900

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D
1904

Philanthropist Eleanor B. Rainey arranges for the construction of a settlement house at East 55th and Superior to expand on the work of Miss Edwards.

E
1905

Eleanor B. Rainey passes away, but social services continue at the newly built settlement house.

D
1923

Anna Edwards, first-ever Executive Director of Rainey Institute, passes away. Flora Edwards, Anna’s sister, becomes Executive Director.

E
1943

Upon her death, Grace Rainey Rogers, daughter of Eleanor B. Rainey, creates a bequest in her will that includes the title of the building and a trust fund of $200,000 to be administered by a group of Trustees.

D
1949

Flora Edwards, second director of Rainey Institute, passes away. Mrs. Jessie L. Peloubet, longtime volunteer and worker of Rainey Institute, becomes Executive Director.

E
1957

Rainey Institute receives its IRS 501c3 tax exempt status.

D
1959

Mrs. Jessie Peloubet retires and the group of Trustees seek the guidance of the Neighborhood Settlement Association (NSA) regarding the future of Rainey. Miss Elizabeth Lewis of League Park Center becomes acting Executive Director.

E
1957

Miss Shirley Lautenschlager becomes Executive Director of Rainey Institute.

D
1959

The Long Range Planning Committee of the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association becomes concerned that Rainey Institute is duplicating services of the nearby Goodrich-Gannett and League Park Centers. Rainey Institute’s Board of Trustees requests that the organization enters into a partnership with the Cleveland Music School Settlement to conduct music programs within Rainey Institute’s facility.

E
1966

Zandra Richardson becomes Executive Director of Rainey Institute.

D
1997

Rainey Institute discontinues its affiliation with the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

E
2007

Zandra Richardson retires and Lee Lazar becomes Executive Director.

D
2011

Rainey Institute moves into its newly constructed 25,000 square foot facility located at East 55th and Payne

E
2019

Lee Lazar retires and Dr. Jennifer Harris becomes Executive Director. Rainey Institute now serves 2,500 youth per year through after school, group class, private lesson, preschool arts education, dance mastery, outreach, and summer day camp programs.

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